Monday, September 13, 2010

How to be a User: The 48 Laws of Power

Making Monday

In 1998, Robert Greene and Joost Elffers published, The 48 Laws of Power. Their list of laws provides a crash course in being a user.

[And for writers, it's a great help when you need to channel your inner evil overlord.]

  1. Never Outshine the Master!
  2. Never put too Much Trust in Friends, Learn how to use Enemies
  3. Conceal your Intentions
  4. Always Say Less than Necessary
  5. So Much Depends on Reputation. Guard it with your Life
  6. Court Attention at all Cost
  7. Get others to do the Work for you, but Always Take the Credit
  8. Make other People come to you, use Bait if Necessary
  9. Win through your Actions, Never through Argument
  10. Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky
  11. Learn to Keep People Dependent on You
  12. Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim
  13. When Asking for Help, Appeal to People's Self-Interest, Never to their Mercy or Gratitude
  14. Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy
  15. Crush your Enemy Totally
  16. Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor
  17. Keep Others in Suspended Terror: Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability
  18. Do Not Build Fortresses to Protect Yourself. Isolation is Dangerous
  19. Know Who You're Dealing with. Do Not Offend the Wrong Person
  20. Do Not Commit to Anyone
  21. Play a Sucker to Catch a Sucker. Seem Dumber than your Mark
  22. Use the Surrender Tactic: Transform Weakness into Power
  23. Concentrate Your Forces
  24. Play the Perfect Courtier
  25. Re-Create Yourself
  26. Keep Your Hands Clean
  27. Play on People's Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following
  28. Enter Action with Boldness
  29. Plan All the Way to the End
  30. Make your Accomplishments Seem Effortless
  31. Control the Options: Get Others to Play with the Cards you Deal
  32. Play to People's Fantasies
  33. Discover Each Man's Thumbscrew
  34. Be Royal in your Own Fashion: Act like a King to be treated like one
  35. Master the Art of Timing
  36. Disdain Things you cannot have: Ignoring them is the best Revenge
  37. Create Compelling Spectacles
  38. Think as you like but Behave like others
  39. Stir up Waters to Catch Fish
  40. Despise the Free Lunch
  41. Avoid Stepping into a Great Man's Shoes
  42. Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep will Scatter
  43. Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others
  44. Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect
  45. Preach the Need for Change, but Never Reform too much at Once
  46. Never appear Perfect
  47. Do not go Past the Mark you Aimed for; In Victory, Learn when to Stop
  48. Assume Formlessness
Purdue has an annotated version of the 48 Laws of Power.


 Image: Bill Longshaw / FreeDigitalPhotos.net